top of page
  • N. N. Light

Whispers in the Canyon by Gifford MacShane is a Kindle Unlimited pick #histfic #ku #giveaway




Book Blurb:

Damaged almost beyond hope, a young woman is offered safety—by the man who killed her brother.

1880s Arizona Territory: Shunned by the village for her outlaw brother's deeds, Jesse is not sorry to hear he's been killed while robbing a bank.

Strangely enough it’s Adam Donovan, the man who shot him, who brings her the news. Even more strange is this newcomer’s offer to help put her ranch back on solid footing.

Traumatized by years of abuse, Jesse doubts she can trust any man—especially this Irish immigrant with his volatile temper and gunfighter’s reputation. But a profound love for her canyon home outweighs her trepidation, and she accepts his assistance.

As they work together to improve her ranch, Jesse begins to believe that Adam’s true nature is far removed from his notoriety. She feels the first stirrings of love―an emotion she's never known before.

But her nascent dreams of romance turn to nightmares when she discovers that not all of her brother's evil deeds died with him.

Deceptively simple and poetic, this heartfelt western historical romance will tug at your emotions, make you laugh, cry, and even get a little angry, as it handles difficult topics with a sensitive touch.


Chapter 1: Spring 1885

The trail split the canyon walls, walls that loomed tall and close and only gradually fell away, clearing the gloom from midday. The rider lifted his hat and drew a sleeve across his brow.

It was much too hot for April. Too quiet. No breeze stirred the aspen leaves. No birds trilled, no squirrels scampered. Even the brook ran silently. His horse’s hooves, muffled by dust, sent up gray ghosts that hung in the air for an instant, then drifted back to earth. If he hadn’t known better, he’d have assumed this ranch was abandoned.

The walls continued to recede until they were close to a mile apart, and the ribbon of trail wound between meadows newly sprouted and already sere. Willows hid the brook from view here, and the aspens and sycamores grew thickly. But where were the cattle, the horses? Corrals or pens? He’d never seen a more desolate place.

Round the edge of a cottonwood grove, a ramshackle cabin came into view. And there, from the shadow of the sagging porch, the barrel of a rifle pointed straight at his chest.

Pulling the appaloosa up, he lifted his hands to show they held nothing but the reins. A girl stepped out, gripping an old Whitworth rifle. Schooling his features to hide his surprise at her diminutive size, he said nothing, and made no move toward the dark gun that hung low on his left hip.

“Donovan.” It was more accusation than query.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“What is it you want here?”

His gaze wandered from the dilapidated cabin to the weedy yard, the broken-down fence, the shed that served for a barn―everything bleached to gray by the Arizona sun. Only the new leaves on the trees rescued it from deadly monotony.

“Well?” she challenged, heat rising to her cheeks as his eyes met hers again.

“I’ve brought some news from town.”

“About Russell? I didn’t think it was a neighborly visit.” Her voice, soft and scented with the bluebells of Texas, bit out the words. “Are you going to say what you have to say? Or just sit on that horse all day?”

Donovan gestured at the rifle. “You won’t need that.”

“Maybe not, but it stays with me. Tell me what you want.”

“Is your father here?”


“How is he?”

She blinked back the tears that jumped to her eyes. “He’s never very good anymore.”

The rifle drooped. The rider waited, motionless and silent, until she focused on him again.

“May I get down?”

“Do it slowly. Now, take off your gun and hang it on your saddle.”

“Yes, ma’am.” There was the slightest tone of mockery in his voice as he hung both his gunbelt and hat over the pommel. He cleared his throat, stifling the urge to laugh at the picture she made, holding a rifle almost as long as she was tall. But the morning’s events pushed themselves forward in his mind, and when he spoke, his voice was solemn.

“Jesse, we should move away from the house.”

“It’s that bad?”

Again he said nothing, but let the slight tilt of his head answer. Jesse turned and walked several yards away from the house, stopping at the broken fence to stare out over a tiny vegetable patch.

Even more puzzling was her reputation for violence―at odds with her vulnerability. And the ancient rifle hanging loose now from her hand―would it even fire? That filthy weapon might just be a greater menace than the girl who held it.

“Well?” The rancor in her voice had been replaced with resignation.

“The White’s Station bank was robbed this morning. Lany Mills, the old clerk there, was shot. He may die.”


“We heard the shots, my brother and I. We were coming into town.” His hand reached for her of its own volition, but he drew it back. “I didn’t want to kill him.”

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

What makes your featured book a must-read?

An Amazon Best seller and a Finalist in the Historical Romance category, Coffee Pot Book Club Book of the Year, 2019, WHISPERS IN THE CANYON deals with physical and sexual abuse, both of which occur before the story opens. They are presented without graphic violence, and treated with respect and empathy for the victims and/or survivors, and no sympathy or excuses for the transgressors. The book explores the effects of abuse and murder not only for the victims, but for those who love them. This novel is intended for a mature audience.

“Whispers in the Canyon is an inspirational love story. The plot is driven by a passion for love not realized, and with each turn of the page, you are drawn further into the hope that it will somehow come to pass.” - Readers Favorite 5-star Review

Giveaway –

Enter to win a $40 Amazon gift card:

Open Internationally.

Runs November 7 – November 16, 2023.

Winner will be drawn on November 17, 2023.

Author Biography:

Gifford MacShane is the author of historical fiction that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.

Her novels feature a family of Irish immigrants who settle in the Arizona Territory in the late 1800s. With an accessible literary style, MacShane draws out her characters' hidden flaws and strengths as they grapple with both physical and emotional conflicts.

Singing almost before she could talk, MacShane has always loved folk music, whether it be Irish, Appalachian, spirituals, or the songs of the cowboys. Her love of the Old West goes back to childhood, when her father introduced her to the works of Zane Grey. Later she became interested in the Irish diaspora, having realized her father's family must have lived through An Gorta Mor, the Great Irish Potato Famine of the mid-1800s.

Writing allows her to combine her three great interests into a series of family stories, each including romance, traditional song lyrics, and a dash of Celtic mysticism. Having grown up in a large & often boisterous Irish-American family, she is intimately acquainted with the workings of such a clan and uses those experiences to good purpose (though no names will be named!)

MacShane is a member of the Historical Novel Society and an #OwnVoices writer. She loves to sing, though her cats don’t always appreciate it. A self-professed grammar nerd who still loves diagramming sentences, Giff currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband Richard, the Pied Piper of stray cats.

Social Media Links:

1 Comment

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Nov 08, 2023

Thank you, Gifford, for sharing your book in our Kindle Unlimited Bookish Event!

bottom of page